AEPi will hous frosh
By Prabhat Mehta
The Office of the Dean for Student Affairs has decided to let the reorganized chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house freshmen in their two Back Bay houses. The decision comes in spite of the Interfraternity Council Presidents' Council April 3 vote not to recognize the Mu Tau chapter as an initial member of the IFC.
"The current group of undergraduates [in] AEPi are fine individuals that we want to be part of the MIT fraternity community," said Neal H. Dorow, advisor to fraternities and independent living groups. "It is our sense that AEPi is providing an environment that is every bit as positive as any other fraternity on this campus for freshmen."
Current AEPi President Jonathan A. Oleinick '94 said the ODSA's decision "will help the chapter a lot to grow and expand" and "will help the MIT community as a whole."
Oleinick said that after the IFC had voted not to recognize AEPi, he met with Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey, and asked him to consider granting the fraternity freshman approved housing.
After meeting with IFC President Holly L. Simpson '92, Tewhey, who heads the Residence and Campus Activities section of the ODSA, told Oleinick he did not feel the IFC's reasons for refusing to recognize AEPi were "sufficient enough" for the fraternity to be denied freshman approved housing, Oleinick said.
The new AEPi chapter was formed last spring, shortly after the fraternity's national organization removed 45 of the 55 Mu Tau brothers in February of last year. Citing concerns over the manner in which the reorganization was conducted, MIT and the IFC both withdrew recognition of AEPi at the time.
Only one of the 10 who were asked to remain chose to so; the other nine joined the others in forming Delta Pi, whose members left AEPi's Back Bay houses at the end of the spring term last year. Unrecognized and with only a few members, the new chapter of AEPi did not occupy either house this year.
"I think that Dean Tewhey should reconsider his decision," said former DPi President Lawrence P. Lubowsky '92. "The administration has been making hasty decisions."
Dorow said, "I understand it's a controversial decision." He added, "There's some rationale for not recognizing AEPi as a fraternity at MIT, but I don't think it outweighs the qualifications that AEPi has met to be approved housing for freshman."
IFC uncertain about
AEPi's rush plans
The granting of freshman approved housing status to an ILG that is not a member of the IFC has raised questions as to how AEPi will conduct itself during rush. The IFC has traditionally established and enforced rush rules ranging from alcohol use in fraternities to when members may first give out "bids," or invitations to become pledges. But since AEPi is not a member of IFC, it is not bound by any of its rules.
Nevertheless, AEPi "will not slander other ILGs, will not wear letters in public before the freshmen picnic, and will not serve alcohol at any rush activities," Oleinick said.
Oleinick explained that once AEPi had been granted freshman approved housing by the Dean's Office, he met with Tewhey and agreed that the fraternity would follow certain rush guidelines.
"AEPi is not bound by any IFC rush rules," Oleinick said. However, the fraternity "will observe all IFC rules unless they clearly inhibit our ability to rush effectively and competitively."
Oleinick said he hoped that "when the other fraternities realize that we will not use any of the benefits to go against the IFC," they will "let us in" to the IFC.
Some members of IFC remain concerned about AEPi's plans for the upcoming rush. In a special locker on Project Athena, IFC members have vented anger at the possibility of rush violations on the part of AEPi.
"I don't think it is at all unlikely that one or many of the IFC members will end up in a cross-rush situation against AEPi," wrote Phi Kappa Sigma Rush Chair Robert M. Polansky '92. "Although they can be expected to be friendly to us, as Neal Dorow said, `they will do what they have to in order to survive,' " Polansky continued.
Theta Delta Chi Rush Chair Michael S. Tovino '92 wrote, "I will not tolerate any unfair play from AEPi any more than I would tolerate it from any IFC house during Rush." He added, "If there are no rules governing them, I will feel the need to protect my house from their unfair advantage."
The actions of AEPi during last fall's rush, during which they violated some IFC rush rules, angered some of those writing in the locker and led them to conclude that AEPi might not rush within IFC guidelines this year.
Fenway House President Mikalis E. Grunde '94 argued in the locker that the IFC should not be upset with the ODSA's decision, since the IFC realized that, after voting not to recognize AEPi in April, it would not have any power to control AEPi's affairs.
"We were warned before we voted that refusing their bid would put them out of our bailiwick, but we did so anyway," Grunde wrote. "There is absolutely no reason why they should follow IFC Rush rules, other than to be nice guys. . . ."
Some IFC members feel the Dean's Office, through its decision, has effectively rendered the IFC powerless. "What is the point of any of our decisions where we say that we should police ourselves?" Polansky wrote. "If [the Dean's Office does not] agree with them, they will just overrule them."
"I'm worried about the fact that the MIT administration is taking away every last right to govern ourselves that we have," Tovino wrote. "Right now, the IFC is a puppet organizations that exists solely because a [u]niversity with fraternities needs an IFC."
"When Dean Tewhey granted AEPi recognition," Lubowsky said, "I saw that not as an act against Delta Pi, but rather an act against IFC."
(Editor's note: Linda D'Angelo and Joanna E. Stone contributed to the reporting of this story.)